On Grief: How to Heal From Grief Shock

This month, I’m inspired to elaborate more fully on each of the 5 pillars that comprise my unique Dr. Raj’s Integrative Process for synthesis and healing.  The core of this process and practice is to help you transform post-traumatic stress from heart- break into a profound opportunity for heart opening, AKA as spiritual and emotional growth.

The first pillar involves working with what I call Grief Shock. This is really about recognizing that you are in shock as a result of grief, and that this requires a particular kind of care and holding.

It can feel like a part of your own heart was literally ripped out of your chest. Even if your beloved did not physically and suddenly die, it can feel like that kind of death to your heart.

No matter how complicated your relationship was, if your hearts were bonded and engaged in true love, then your hearts–on a very real level–were finding a way to grow together.

So again, no matter the nature of the “break up,” your heart now has to learn how to grow apart. Even if you instigated or were in support of the break up, once its real, the heart will break. It has to disconnect from that other heart and breathe itself back home again. This is the gift inherent in the pain.

So if you are in the initial stages of your heart-break, or even further down the road but still experience waves of shock, here is an empowering and soothing practice that you can engage.

How to Address Symptoms of Shock

  • If you feel overwhelmed with strong emotion, flip flopping back and forth between grief and longing, questioning if the break up was the right move and your mind is pinning or bargaining on ways to get back together. And then alternately riding waves of anger, resentment, revenge or any other strong emotions, you can be pretty sure that you are in a shock trauma vortex.

So… first it is important to name where you are. You can kindly and compassionately, say, “ sweetheart, you are in shock. But you are ok. Be gentle. I love you.” Just name for yourself that you are in shock and that you are hurting and that you are ok. ( I love you always feels good too!)

  • As soon as you can recognize that this happening, notice what’s also concurrently happening within your body. See if you can locate where your sensations are the strongest. Notice your breath and how deeply you are able to breathe. Likely it is shallow and your heart may even physically hurt.
  • Once you can connect with your body and your breath. Take a moment and put your hand where you are the most constricted. For example if it is your heart, rest your hand on your heart. See if you can literally hold your heart. Take 12 deep, slow breaths into your heart, or wherever you are feeling the most constriction. As you breathe, muster as much self -compassion for how you are feeling. Try your best to truly stay present with your pain. For it is your pain longing to be met that is underneath the grief shock.
  • If you can, this exercise is even more powerful if you can lie down on the Earth. Put your belly on the Earth and let the Mother Earth hold you and breath with you. Even if lying on the Earth is not possible, you can invite your senses to open to nature, wherever you are.
  • As you start to calm and settle down, you should feel some softening of the constriction. Remind yourself that your totality as a human being goes beyond this relationship and all of your emotions related to it. Let yourself remember that you are apart of this vast ecosystem of Life. When you are ready ask yourself, “what do you need right now?” If you need water, or food, or a nap, or a bath or a walk in nature or to call a friend- give yourself what you need. This will translate as care to the part of your heart that has been hurting.

Usually grief shock comes in waves that arise and are strong and then subside. You never know what might trigger you. If there are particular people or places that you know will trigger you, when you are in the intensity of the rawness, try to avoid putting yourself in these situations if you can.

However, in those unavoidable moments when the shock is strong, most importantly let yourself open to what is present. The intensity will pass.

Try to stay as compassionate and gentle with yourself as possible. Next week we will explore the nature of the second pillar, working with the Core Trauma and some remedy’s to best engage with it.

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